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Saint Laurent SS16 Menswear Paris
Saint Laurent SS16Photography Virginia Arcaro

What you need to know about Saint Laurent SS16

Surf’s up – Kurt Cobain shades, palm tree prints and a gang of new muses invade Paris

“All that I say and all I want is to find what I am. I stay here alone with my long hair in the morning until midnight.” So read the cryptic quote that headed up the show notes for Saint Laurent’s SS16 menswear collection – an ode to long-haired surfer boys that were more “King of the Beach” than The O.C. Here are five things you need to know about the show – from the cast to the confetti.

THE INVITE

Season after season, Saint Laurent transform the humble show invite into an art object, creating a black book with silver, embossed text that contains the work of an artist selected by Hedi Slimane to represent the season. Past collaborators have included Raymond Pettibon (the illustrator behind the album cover of Sonic Youth’s iconic Goo, which turned 25 this week) and honorary Hells Angel of contemporary art, John Baldessari. For SS16, Slimane chose Billy Al Bengston, a California dweller known for his association with the sunny pop of the West Coast, whose abstract images – including one of what looks, appropriately, like a seascape – covered the book’s pages.

THE LINE UP

Plucked from the coolest corners of the internet, Hedi Slimane is famed for the gangs of teens and twenty somethings that charge his runways and pose nonchalantly in campaigns. This season the line-up featured muse of the moment (and star of Dazed’s new issue, Julia Cumming); breakout actress from Gaspar Noe’s controversial 3D sex film Love, Klara Kristin; and Hollywood offspring Dylan Brosnan, Jack Kilmer and Charlie Oldman, as well as the most in-demand model faces of the season.

THE SURF VIBES

The surf was definitely up for Saint Laurent this season. West Coast influences came across in beaten up blue jeans, beaded necklaces, chequerboard trainers and palm tree prints. While last season Slimane paid tribute to the Paris new wave, for SS16 he filtered his references through a distinct grunge aesthetic – note the iconic white Kurt Cobain sunnies, the sun-bleached hair, peeks of leopard print and toughened leather bikers.

THE SOUNDTRACK

While the tunes for AW15 were provided by French band Mystere, this season’s exclusive soundtrack mix came from Swimmers, the LA quartet known for their paticular brand of beach pop. Recorded just last month in Oakland California, they debuted a track called “Like Harry Dean Stanton” – a tribute to cult actor and star of Wim Wenders’ seminal 1984 film Paris Texas.

THE SET

This season, Saint Laurent took their usually psychedelic set in an even more trippy direction than usual, with spinning rainbow lights and a flood of YSL logo confetti that reigned from the ceiling as the models stormed the stage for the final walk. 

Watch the full show below: